Lieutenant Colonel Darla M. Oja, CD

Lieutenant Colonel Darla M. Oja, CD

Lieutenant Colonel Darla M. Oja, CD

  • Accomplishments related to: Peacekeeping, Armed Forces, and Disaster Response
  • Major affiliations: Canadian Armed Forces, Military Family Resource Centre, Lake Superior Scottish Regiment

Lieutenant Colonel Darla Oja enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1992 as a private, working as a Mobile Support Equipment Operator in the 16 (Saskatchewan) Service Battalion. She served across Canada, from Dundurn and Wainwright in the Prairies to the Vernon Cadet Training Centre in British Columbia, where she also fought forest fires in Penticton.

In 1996 she transferred to the 18 (Thunder Bay) Service Battalion, there taking on the role of Dispatcher in the Thunder Bay Garrison and rising to the rank of Master Corporal. She was further promoted to Sergeant in 2003 and transferred to 736 Communication Squadron in Thunder Bay as the Training Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO), where she remained until 2009.  During this period she was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina as the Operations NCO on Operation Althea in 2006. 

In 2009 she received a Lieutenant’s commission and stayed on as the Adjutant for 736 Communication Squadron until 2013. From 2013-2015 she accepted the position of Area Reserve Standards Officer for the Western Area Training Centre, covering 38 Canadian Brigade Group, which encompasses Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Northwestern Ontario. In 2015 she returned to the Service Battalion in Thunder Bay, now part of 38 Service Battalion, as the Officer Commanding 18 Service Company and was promoted to Major in 2015. Lieutenant Colonel Oja served as the National Command Element J1 for the international training exercise, RIMPAC 16, in Honolulu, Hawaii and assumed the role of 38 Service Battalion Deputy Commanding Officer in 2017. In 2017 she deployed on a Domestic Operation as Joint Task Force Deputy Commanding Officer for Operation Nanook-Nunalivat in Rankin Inlet, Inuit. In June 2019 she was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and the appointment of Commanding Officer for 38 Service Battalion, which has subunits spanning the three provinces.

Lieutenant Colonel Oja is active in various community associations such as the Military Family Resource Centre and the St Anthony’s Catholic Church. She is also president of the Mess Committee for the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment and the Garrison Officers Mess in Thunder Bay.  Her interests include international travelling, hiking, camping, and reading.

Darla Hawaii

Photo Credit: Canadian Forces Combat Camera

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